tv Charlie Rose WHUT February 8, 2013 10:00am-11:00am EST
>> rose: welcome to the program, we begin this evening with benh zeitlin, the oscar nominated writer and director of the much talked about movie "beasts of the southern wild" >> you know, it's a film that's about how to survive loss. noonted just physically survive loss but emotionally, you know, survive loss with your joy intact. and that was the connection between the two things. you know, there was this story that i was interested in about these communities in south louisiana that were losing their land. but when you go there and you meet the people there isn't this sort of sorrow, there isn't this, you know, there isn't people feeling sorry for themselves, there is a real pride in staying and a joy in the culture that remains. and then that was sort of a parallel to the story of this little girl who has to survive the loss of a parent. and the connections between the loss of a parent and the
loss of a place were what really resonated to me and that is something that i didn't necessarily understand when i started making the film. but which i saw was true. and i think that's sort of how we began. >> we conclude this evening with cbs news foreign correspondent from rome, allen pizzey. >> it's ego test kelso is a say that we write the history of the world. i think if we do our job right, politicians and the public cannot say we didn't know. you did know. did you foe bad things were happening. you did know people were starving. you did know there was tragedy. you did know there was sorrow. did you know there was bravery, did you know there was courage because we went and we showed you. you can't say you didn't know. and that, i think, is, i think it's a service and useful and i think that's what we do. >> rose: benh zeitlin and allen pizzey when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose was provided by the
>> rose: benh zeitlin is here. when he made his direct orial debut "beast of the southern wild" last year it became a movie everybody is talking b the story of hush puppie a 9-year-old girl faced with the illness of her father. it became the runnaway hit of lastier's film festival skirt winning awards at sundance and at cannes and now nominated for four academy awards including best director and best picture. here is the trailer of beasts of the southern wild. >> the whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right. if one piece busts, even the smallest piece, the entire
universe -- >> this here is an auroch, a fierce creature. >> the storm's coming. >> the you all better learn how to survive. >> it is pie job to take care of you, okay? >> all was quiet goes hine my eyes, i see everything that made made me. >> flying around in invisible pieces. i see that i'm a little piece of a big, big universe.
>> you going to be the king, i promise that. >> in a million years, when kid goes to school, they going to know, once there was a hushpuppy and she lived with her daddy in the bathtub. who the man. >> i'm the man! >> congratulations. >> thank you. >> rose: this is extraordinary. how did it all start for you. >> it began --. >> rose: born in new york, born in queens. >> okay, yeah, way back. >> well, came, you think if you want to go all the way, you know my parent was take me on trips around the country when i was a kid. i remember going to new orleans when i was 12 or 13 years and making a pledge that one day i was going to come back for good. and-- . >> rose: did you. >> i did.
this place resonates for me, oncoming back. >> yeah, i have little glimpse of what i remember from that trip. i remember very specifically i was too young to get into any of the bars, i was walking down the street and someone saw that i was looking in from the window, a guitar player and he came outside and played a guitar solo for me outside. and i remember feeling like i had never seen-- i had never seen this anywhere before. and something about that made me think this is the type of-- this the type of creativity that i want to live and be a part of. and so i got back, you know, for good with this short film that i made in 2006. and that sort of created this filmmaking community that i ended up making beasts of the southern wild with. >> rose: what is amazing about you is you went to play writing school when you were 13 or 14. >> it was a camp, yeah, me and my cowriter. >> rose: that is where you met her. >> we won this little prize where we got to spend two weeks working with playwrights and going to plays in the city. and you know that was where me and the cowriter of beasts first met.
and we kept in touch all the way through writing, i mean we're still best friends. so it's yeah, a long-term, you know, long-term thing started when i was a little kid. one of the editors of the film i have known since i was 1-year-old. so it is a big sort of family production. >> rose: you made this for a million and a half or something. >> yeah, yeah. >> rose: about that. >> about that. it was 1.8, something like that, yeah. which for us was, you know, i mean we were these scrappy guerrilla filmmakers, you know, living in louisiana so it was a miracle that we got the film funded at all. >> rose: you didn't make this expecting to get an oscar or academy award nomination. >> no. >> rose: you made it intending to what simply make the best little film that you could make. >> yeah t was a mission it was a mission whose goal was really just creating a film that we would be proud of. i think that obviously we wanted people to see it. but i think in our wildest dreams it would have shown for a week in new york or in los angeles. and you know, we would have been able to go home and
show it in louisiana an be proud of it and hopefully make more. but that was the wildest dream of a film like this, you know. >> rose: so tell me the story and tell me the themes that you see. >> the story is about hushpuppy and she lives in this town called the bathtub which is cut off from the world by a giant water production system and a sort of mythic version of louisiana. and you know, the film is about a sort of environmental myth logical apocalypse that comes to this town that she has to survive with her father. >> rose: and? >> and you know, and the story is the story of kind of her experience of this crazy series of events where her town floods. she loses her home. and it's about this pack of survivors that are trying to stay with their land, you know, and that's really where the film initially came from was really inspired by meeting and the stories of people that were holding out in south louisiana trying not to get
pushed out of their homes. >> rose: and the themes are what? >> you know-- . >> rose: really it is just father and daughter, that's one. >> no, it's bigger. i mean-- . >> rose: that's one. >> that's one, for sure. it's about, a film that is about how to survive loss. and not just physically survive loss but emotionally, you know, survive loss with your joy intact. and that was the connection between the two things, you know there was this story that i was interested in about these communities in south louisiana that were losing their land. but when you went, when you go there and you meet the people there isn't this sort of sorrow, there isn't this, you know, there isn't people feeling sorry for themselves. there is a real pride in staying and there is a joy in the culture that remains. and then that was sort of a parallel to this story of this little girl who has to survive the loss of a parent. and the connections between the loss of a parent and the loss of a place were what really resonated to me. and that's, you know, something that i didn't necessarily understand when i started making the film,
but which i saw was true. and i think that's sort of how we began. >> rose: casting. >> uh-huh. >> rose: you did a remarkable thing. you've got a lot of nonactors acting. >> yeah, yeah. and you know, that's what it was. we did this massive casting search all over south louisiana. >> rose: for hushpuppy. >> and for the other characters, actually no-- ever who is in the fill some from south louisiana. >> rose: how many young girls did you see. >> we saw about 4,000. >> rose: they came in and you said hello to them and listened to them read or what did they do. >> they came in and told us stories, that was their method. >> rose: tell you a story about your life. >> tell us a story about anything, literally anything you want to tell us and we would take that and work with it. >> rose: what were you looking for. >> a miracle, basically. we had this humongous film that would sit on the shoulders of a 6-year-old. >> rose: a story that is sitting on the shoulders of a 6-year-old. >> and all of our lives depending on it.
it was a brash, it was a brash ambition. but you know but specifically, you you know, we were looking for somebody who was fearless. you know, i think that is the essence of the story, what the characters are about, what this little girl is learning is how to be fearless. and when we saw quvenzhane wall is come not audition, she wasn't nervous, she wasn't afraid of me, she wasn't afraid of showing her emotions. she knew who she was and had this incredible poise. >> rose: you knew at first sight. >> not first sight but as soon as she started doing, when she started reading, you know. >> rose: telling the story. >> well, you know, there is a lot of stories from that audition. but she walked in, and was very quiet. and i was giving her the directions and she was just staring at me and she wasn't responding. a lot of times you just think this kid is just not-- nothing is actually getting in, that is normal for, you know, somebody who-- she was 5 years old at
the time. and then she starting doing this scene, it wasn't a read scene. i told her you are trying to give your father method and you have to give him the method. the other acker was supposed to refuse to take that method. and she, we had seen a million kid does this, and whine and sort of be cute. we had never seen somebody do it and be just ferocious. and she just was standing her ground, and she wouldn't budge. and then i remember telling her, take this stuffed animal and throw it at your father. and she actually, she refused to do it she would pump-fake and not throw it at him. and i cut the scene. and i said well why won't you throw the stuffed animal. she looked me straight in the eye and she said that's not right to throw things at someone you don't know. and that was a moment, because it was like-- . >> rose: she had her own mind. >> she had her own mind and was defiant but on the grounds of being sweet and nice and doing the right thing. and that truly is who hushpuppy is and i remember
that moment was a huge one and realized that was it. >> rose: where did you find the father. >> we found the father across the street. >> rose: at a bakery. because he was a baker. >> he is a baker. he is probably baking right now. >> rose: and in fact he made you rehearse during the hours that he was baking. >> absolutely, yeah. because we offered him the part in the bakery and he turned us down. >> rose: three times. >> three times, exactly. because he couldn't, he couldn't risk damaging his business to do a film. and i think that that is actually one of the things that made me know he was right for the role. is i saw that he cared as much about his bakery as i cared about the fill. and as much as wink, the character, cares about his town. and this sort of i would die before i would let anything hurt this mentality, made me realize that this was the only person in the world who could play this role. and what it took to convince him to do it was doing all the rehearsals while he was baking, you know, pushing back our shoot to allow him to train someone to replace
himself. we had to cast both him and the bakery and make sure both things could thrive in order for him to agree to dot part. >> rose: so you never even auditioned people for that role. >> we did, we did. originally that was supposed to be a professional actor because we thought that role was too challenging for somebody that didn't have any experience. and we tried several professionals in the role. and it just didn't quite work with quvenzhane, she just-- the chemistry wasn't there. and then we convinced white to come and do an audition with her and saw for the first time that they were listening, there was this affection in the relationship, that there was, you know, this incredible chemistry. and you know, and it was another sort of leap of faith to sort of go with a nonprofessional in that role but we really believed in him so we went for it. >> rose: what was quvenzhane's family like? >> they're amazing. and you know, as much as, for dwight you are casting dwight, the bakery, when we cast quvenzhane we cast her and her family. you know, because without
sort of their support and they're the most grounds, loving, down to earth family, you know, her mom never pushes her to sort of, you know, be a star. it wasn't dealing with theatre parents. she was just supportive and was always there on set. and oftentimes when i couldn't direct a scene i would lean on her mom, and i would say can you help me out here, tell her this and you know, in many ways we collaborated on making this happen. >> rose: you also felt it was imperative for you to immerse yourself almost as an anthropologist on the culture. >> yeah, so much of the film comes from people and from places, you know, and that's really the method that we like to use in developing a fill some to draw it not to sort of show up with a vision and force it to happen. it's to draw the story out from the place, the people and the stories and the textures of the place. and so so much of the how
the film was written was, came from interviews with people, came from traveling in south louisiana and you know, individual places were written into the film it wasn't like we showed up with those things written in. we would find a place that was extraordinary and alter the entire script to allow it into the film. that was essential in creating the film. >> talk about two scenes because i want you to comment because we talked about characters and the audience to see them at home this is a scene in which hush puppie and the residents of the bayou celebrate despite an oncoming storm. here it is. >> one day, the storms going, the ground is going to sink and the water is going to rise up so high, there ain't going to be no bathtub, just a whole bunch of water.
>> rose: you say she has the moral backbone of this movie. >> yeah. you know, i think she's the moral backbone of the entire crew. her character is driven by goodness. you know, and it was something that came from actual conversations with quvenzhane where you know, i asked her you know, if you were to break the world, what would you do. and she said i would have to fix it. and i said what does that mean to you to fix it. how would you go about it. and she said well, i would go to bed on time. i would always listen my mom. i would do my homework. and i realize this very specific thing about being a kid is that you feel like your actions, even if there isn't a tangible connection, that the quality of your actions can actually affect the world.
and that became sort of the principles on which the film works. you know, her trying to do good affects things. >> rose: okay, here is what tony scott of the "new york times" said about her who loved the film by the way, his two favorite films is lincoln and you. played by quvenzhane wallis, an untrained sprite who holds the camera's attention with a charismatic poise that might make grown-up movie stars weep in en-- envy, an-- in other words, she the inheriter of a proud literary and artistic tradition, followed along a crooked path traveled by huckleberry fin, scout fitch, eloise, elliott an other brave killed imaginary children, they allow to to reassert our chooldhood and-- when the world falls short of ideals and expectations that is written by tony scott but also does it resonate with you? >> so much.
i mean literally the character he names there are the ones that we thought about. and you know, just if there is any ambition that i have in making movies it is to create those characters to become, they become part of the culture. they become a moral come pass for behavior. when you think about, you know, what is charity. you think about robin hood. when you think about what is wisdom you think about sherlock holmes, these sort of characters that really become hero, folk heroes. and that's what i imagined her to be writing. an i think that those specific elliott from et and hummer berry fin were specific ones that we looked at and thought that is who this girl is. she's going to, in her simplicity and in her innocence and in her purity she's going it to be the answer. >> rose: and what does wing have, her father. >> wink has, wink has, you know, a sort of, he's got
this passion for his place and for his culture and you know, i think that what i love about wink is that as brutal as he is, he understands that he is part of this place that is so unique and that has found this special kind of freedom. and it's endangered. and he knows he has to pass on these lessons to his daughter in order for her to be able to inherit what beauty he has found in the world. and he knows that that is sort of the only thing that he can do and the only legacy can live is going to be internalized in his daughter. >> rose: here is how wink taught hushpuppy to catch a fish. >> some day when i'm gone you're going to be the last man in the bathtub. you are going to have to learn how to feed yourself. you got to ball your fists up, okay this is your punching hand. ball your fists up, in case you have to whack him when he come out.
all right, all right. got it, got it! >> yeah, whooo lord! look what we got! look what we got! gout, say i got you. >> i got ya. >> yeah, hold him down, you hold him down like this, and you whack him good with your fist go ahead, whack him, you back him goodment hold him like that and whack him, hold him. >> ow. >> you okay? that's all a part of it. come on, you want to try it again? come on, one more time. >> rose: nice scene. where did you get that scene? >> where i did get that scene. >> rose: did you go fishing once an somebody said this is the way we do it. >> i did ask sort of, yeah, no, i remember asking, you
know, if you had no tools, if you had no net, you know, how do you go about this. and you know this isn't an exact sort of scientific way to catch a catfish but you can do it by hand. and that is what you would do, you would, if you didn't have a paddle you would use your hand. and you know t comes from there's a very different attitude towards parenting, you know n a place where you need to be tough to survive. and you have to sort of teach toughness, you have to teach survival. and when you drive down the bayou you see the school class by the side of the bayou learning how to fish it that is part of the lesson. and i do think that you know one of the things that was really important to me about the film was to show a type of education, you know that is equally valuable but completely different from what people normally see. >> rose: finally here is tony scott from the "new york times" on this program talking about your film, roll tape. >> tell me what it was that you saw in beasts of the southern wild.
>> i saw an extraordinary energy and imaginative free do. i mean one thing that-- because it's an independent movie, a small scale, you know, low budget kind of seat of the pants production. and so many of the movies that have come out recently that fit that template are very kind of somber and grim and kind of literally realistic, and about sort of the missery and struggle of people in trouble. and this one was so magical, and so imaginative it had all of that kind of, you know, social conscience and neorealist exploration but also this sense of really the only word i have is magic. and it went, it kind of invented this world and got so wonderfulfully inside the consciousness of this child, you know t reminded me of the first time i ever read huckleberry finn. the child's perception as sort of wise and also
innocent and organizing how the world looks and how it pite be and how you want it to be and taking terrible taj dee and dep riffation and disaster and turning it into something that was joyful. >> it reminded me, he called the film spielbergian, as you know. >> uh-huh. >> rose: and you met steven. >> yeah. >> rose: and he talked about what it was about the film that he liked. >> uh-huh. >> rose: what de like? >> you know, i think he talked about the fact that you know, the film is driven by emotions. and it's driven by big questions. >> rose: an innocence or not, no innocence. >> that's not what we talked about. but you know, but i think that it is that. and i think it's important, you know, when you are a kid you are focused on big things. are you not sort of cluttered in the minute u schof that sort of adult life becomes overwhelmed by-- you're thinking about your parents, you know, the the love you have for your parents, for your home.
those are all encompassing things that you have such a strong, you know, that's your life and you hold on to it with everything that you can. and i think there is a fact that the fill some about big questions and deals in sort of large emotions with something that he connected to. >> john casavedes means what to you? >> that's who i go back to when i get confused, watching his films. and to me what i take from those film is the attitude towards performance. and you know, i wanted to make a film that was in many ways a piece of folklore and mystical and fan toss call but i wanted the characters to be absolutely real and to respond, you know n ways that were purely human. and i think the way he directs actors and the way that he draws emotion from the characters and the spontaneity that you feel in the performances were something that i really aspire towards in the way that we created our characters. >> benh zeit line, thank you. >> great to be here. >> rose: back in a moment,
stay with us. wubling one of the great things about doing this program is you go have dinner with someone and you find them interesting. hi dinner last night with a very interesting person, who i know because of my anchor shift at cbs this morning. and his name is allen pizzey. he is a canadian without is a cbs news correspondent from rome. he covers the middle east and a lot of regions. we want to have a conversation simply about his world and how one becomes a foreign correspondent, how it's changing. the image that we have, the challenge of doing it in today's world, and all of that. so i am pleased to introduce you f you don't already know, cbs new's allen pizzey. so welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: let me just start from the beginning. you grew up in canada. >> yup, brantford, ontario. >> rose: thinking you would do what. >> i didn't have a clue. at university i took business administration degree and realized very early on this is not for me. so i kicked around doing a couple of things.
i was a rock driller and blaster and probably the only journalist who had a high explosives licence. i sold soap or rather people bought soap from me because i couldn't sell water in the desert. i ened up in south africa for a lot of reasons. and i bsed my way on to a job on a newspaper, basically. i got hired by a newspaper and i thought this, i love this. >> rose: it felt like you were at home. >> i did. i really loved it. and i was really lucky because i worked with a couple of editor was took an interest if me and thought, they saw that i cared. they cared and they taught me things. and went to work for a news service that covered black africa that belonged to this group much papers am i worked for the best editor i ever worked for in my life, will snuffy, he taught me the thing that carried me through my entire caer radio. he sent me off to my first war in angola 1975 not knowing anything. and he said just remember one thing. you can't file if you are's dead. >> rose: so stay alive. >> so, and he also said of course if you are killed,
you have already been fired. that is basically how i got into it and television was an accident as well. but-- . >> rose: it reminded me of people would come at this table, many of them actors, they say how did you get in the business. and they had no, no desire to be, no need to be, no interest necessarily, they happened to be at a university. they happened to maybe want to meet somebody, especially young coeds, and so they go to theatre, they get on stage and they just say this is where i belong. >> yeah, it's just-- there was something that just said wow, this is fun. this is really fun. and then once i got off the daily grind i learned my trade, as it were. once i started traveling and doing foreign news i thought there-- i can't think of anything i would rather have donement and i have done it now for 33 years for cbs. and i actually feel 's not tod to have done say it's all great fun. >> rose: we'll get to what is to the fun. >> some of it is miserable and tiring but damn, they pay me to see this.
>> rose: to see the world and tell you what i have seen. >> yeah, that's the really good part, that you actually are telling people, taking them someplace they have never been before, they may never go but telling them things they need to know. it's egotelecommunication call to say we changed the world. we don't write the first draft of history, we scribble notes but i think if we do our job right politician and the public cannot say we didn't know. did you know. you did know bad things were happening. you did know people were starving. you did know there was tragedy. you did know there was sorrow, su did know there was bravery, you did know there was courage. because we went and we showed you. you can't say you didn't know. and that, i think, is, i think it's a service and i think it's useful and i think that's what we do. >> rose: is it as fun today as it has ever been? >> no. >> because? >> because of the technology. you know, when i started as a foreign correspondent hi a notebook in my back pocket and a typewriter and i
could-- i never had-- cell phones didn't existment i would disappear for days and days and days. and then i would find a telex machine and punch a tape and i would file. so you had time to find the story, to think about the story. nows that a not is a say we aren't doing a good job today. it's not to say it's not fun but it's not the same. demands are constant, i talk to you 1:00 my time in the middle east and come straight off that and bang i have to dot evening news. that's stimulating and it's fun and we're doing it well, i think, but it's-- there was a time when you could, you could disappear. you could pretend you were henry morton stanley if you were covering africa and that doesn't exist any more. >> rose: the other thing is you do it in a minute and a half box, you tell us a story generally in a minute and a half. >> yeah. >> rose: but what i love about being at cbs, for me, is that you guys are storytellers, that's what you are. >> that's basically what a journalist job is. but there is a challenge to a minute and a half. >> rose: absolutely. >> how much can you get in here and how much
information can you provide, how well can you do this and the beauty, the fun of television is that you've got pictures as well. the marriage of, i think that's what kept me in tv is i really love to write, i love being a printer, but i really like the marriage of words and pictures and trying to do that and it's a collaborative, it's not-- we get the glory, we get the air time, the face time, if you will. but it requires cameramen, soundmen, editors, producers, logistics people and we all have to do it together. at the end of the day, that minute and a half is not mine, it's ours. and it's very satisfying when you all sit down at the end of it and said wow, we did it again, that's very good. >> rose: my great friend charles kerr all without you obviously new from cbs, we were both from north carolina and i spoke at his memorial service when he was laid to rest there in chapel hill, used to say to me that when a writer walks by the halls of cbs in the halls of cbs we stand up and salute. and he was one of them. >> he certainly was. charlie could write-- coread the phone book and make it
interesting. he was fantastic, yeah. >> rose: what skills do you need to do what you do? write, marry picture to words, have a curiosity. >> first of all, above all else you need curiositiment you need to think that's interesting what is there. you need to want to knows what's tlment you need to be able to write. you need to be able to write a coherent sentence, to be able condense things and think in terms of pictures, television is different from print is that you have to turn sentences around. you have to use the picture, marry the words to the picture. you need that, and you need a lot of stamina, especially if you are a foreign correspondent working for an american organization because at a minimum you are five or six hours time difference. so you are always working till late at night. and you have to start the day when the day starts where you are. so 14, 15, 16, 18 hour days are not uncommon. >> rose: but it's gotten easier to take the pictures, that's one thing that is easier. >> it's easier to collect
the pictures and get the pictures in. >> rose: the cameras are better, they're ezer, lighter, faster. >> the technology has changed things phenomenally. what it has done also is make it not quite some of fun for us. because there was a time, i covered beirut. and you had to have your story shot and done by 7:00 at fight at the latest because it had to be put into a taxi with a crazy man who would drive as fast as he could for damascus or even as far a amman to feed the stuff. now are you going to plug it into a computer in your room so then we were, stuff went down the road, hey, we're done and everybody stayed in the same hotel because there was no place else to say. we all ended up at the same bar. you couldn't go out at night. so it was a different kind of atmosphere. now there is not the camaraderie, you don't see each other quite so much. but again, you can deliver a much more immediate product. if something happened at just before air time then, you couldn't get it on. now you can. >> rose: dow own a trench coat? >> i do but i've never worn it. but i confess i bought one
early on. mike wallace had a trench coat. i had to have a trench coat. >> rose: right. >> i did. >> rose: that is the romance there say certain romance about it. >> there is. >> rose: the foreign correspondent in movies. >> we have as a guest tonight one of the soldiers of the press. one of the little army of historians who are writing history from beside the canon's mouth. the foreign correspondent of the new york globe, huntley --. >> rose: dow feel that the romance of it all? >> yeah, i think you do. i mean i often have been asked what the post fun thing you've done. there are many but one thing that was really that kind of romance was the fall of the berlin wall. before it came down we were sneaking in across the border, going across as tourists and so on, smuggling cameras in, then going to illegal demonstrations and clandestine meetings and interviewing dissidents then you had to get the videotapes, we were using little onesing back across the border, i have to tell you coming through check point charlie at night in the rain with videotape in your underwear t is a real la caresque kind of romance.
i got to say it was fun t was fun. >> rose: how fast was your heart beating at that moment. >> faster than it wants to beat now, coy tell you, it was good. >> rose: you stayed at cbs all these years. >> yes, i have. >> rose: 33 years. because it represents something to you or are you just comfortable there? >> kbot. over the course of my career si have had offers from the other networks. and it never occurred to me to take them because of what cbs is. it's a cliche but it is the network of edward r. murrow. when i started it was still owned by the man who wanted, william pailly without wanted it to be the tiffany network and there's an atmosphere at cbs that i've always felt comfortable with. we went through a very, very bad period at cbs. and you know it's kind of volde mo, ro voldemort, his name shall not be spoken. and we are glad it is over. those of us who sur involved it are glad we stayed. >> rose: what was it like, what did you feel during those years, that nobody cared about news.
>> that they didn't care about news. most of all i fell that they didn't care about us. they didn't care about we who bring in the product. and that's something that cbs has always done well. they've always cared about people. i know that, and i have had, been involved when colleagues have been injured or killed, sadly. and they have been no, nothing has been spared to look after our welfare. they cared they really, really cared. we all grump and complain and we don't like this or that, and these people or whatevers. but at the end of the day, if something went wrong, they were there for you. and it mattered. and i think that's one of the things that kept me there. plus there's a standard. i'm bragging because i am apart of it. but yes, there is a serious standard at cbs news and it is a standard that if you are serious about being a journalist f you care about what you do, this is the place to be. >> rose: i don't want to flatter him at this time or suck up to him or anything else. but there is a sense that it is back now it has a certain of that because of failure.
>> no question about t no question about it. when jeff fieger, and i'm not butting you up for a raise, jeff, but when jeff came back and made his speech to the, to everybody, here in new york and it was put out on videotape, one of the things he said was cbs is, i'm paraphrasing but he basically said this is a network of tradition. i'm part of that tradition. and that tradition is back. we are going to do what we've always done, sort of thing. and yeah, he represents that. and that, you had to have been there to know the dince in the atmosphere it was like walking from, i wouldn't go as far to say health to heaven but it was a serious step into another world, back where we belong. >> exactly. >> and you felt that the standards were there, you know, that made how you felt about dogs the work. >> yeah. >> more important. >> yeah, people wanted you to be responsible. they wanted you-- they wanted you to do your job again, the job that you want to do.
>> is war the ultimate event to cover? >> sadly, yes, it is, yeah. because you see everything that there is about human beings that's good, that's bad. and there is an adrenaline rush but i don't think you should ever treat it, i don't like the title war correspondent. i think it's part of the job description, it's not the point of the job. and but i think that covering wars is exciting. it's terrifying, it's interesting. it takes a toll on your psyche i'm sure. i'm sure we are all slightly nuts. i'm to the going to pull out a glock and shoot you but i think we are weird. >> really do, you think that. >> there is something about the rush that's changed you? >> not the rush, it's what you see. >> yeah. >> its things you've seen. the things you've seen and the things you have to shall did -- you can't bring it home with you, for example.
if you-- when you have a small child, for example, which i, pie son is to you grown but when he was small t was very difficult to come back, to come from sarajevo and say i could be under fire in sarajevo coming to the airport and five hours later i could be in my house playing with my child. and i learned after a couple of trips not to do that. i would pace, even though i wanted to come home i would spend a day or a night somewhere else before i came home just to purge that whatever it was in my system. >> if you didn't purge it what would you be? >> a little jumpier, a little more abrupt about things. a friend of mine once came back from sarajevo and said his kids were win being something and he flipped out and said don't you be like that i've seen children with no legs. don't you know how privileged you. and his wife whose's also a close friend of ours said do not bring that in this house. don't bring the way the world is this is the way the
world should be. don't bring that back here. and that was a good lesson. a good lesson to have. >> dow still have time to do the kinds of stories beyond the stories of politics and power and conflict that you love doing, you know, you mentioned also friend morley safer who loves nothing more than to do a story about ferrari. >> oh, yeah. >> or a story about van gogh. >> oh, i love to do -- >> that's the joy of the joy, isn't telephone. you can go live with van gogh and do a story about van gogh. >> a little while ago i did a story for sunday morning on gel ato. how much none was that. i did a style story on ferrari. this is a job that gives so you much fun and so many privileges. it's great. >> and cbs knows that too. >> oh, yeah, nobody subjected us to-- they know they need the experience, the judgement.
>> yeah. >> skills, i think experience and judgement are respected, yeah. they trust it, that's an important thing is trust. when you're out doing a story you know that you will be trusted. i think the ultimate example of that was in south africa when they imposed the state of emergency we did not know what the rules were but we did know that if we transgressed too far they would close the bureau, this could arrest and literally disappear our employees particular the black camera crews. and the first story we did under the emergency rules, we called in a lawyer, cbs's request. they looked and said i would suggest that you change one word in the script because in a court of law it would be-- per jor difficult but otherwise i can defend the script in a court of law. of course your problem is there is no court of law. the interpret of this law is in the mind of the minister of home affairs and information so there you are, thank you very much that will be 500 bucks or whatever. so michael-- the producer and mine, he is now at "60 minutes," called the cbs
evening news and management and said look this is the situation. what we want to do is push the envelope as far as we think we can bush it. we want to stand on the line that we perceive there to have been drawn. but we want to push. we don't want to back down. >> and they said fine, an never once in all that time, almost couple of years of covering that violence and making those judgements every day, myself and other correspondents and producers, never once did they question our jjment to say go further. they may have said are you sure you want to say that, you sure you want to use that picture. if you said yes, they said fine. and the risk wa, the huge risk to cbs, but they trusted us to make the judgement. and that was something that you can't live-- we were allowed. and always been grateful for that. >> rose: so if you could choose any spot with you would choose rome today or would you choose beijing because there is a bigger story there or -- >> i have to confess that i'm a little older and more
comfortable and i like my life in rome, thank you very much. >> rose: the culture suits you fine. >> just fine. the lifestyle suits me fine, the food suits me fine. >> rose: you could have gone to london. >> coy have, yeah. >> rose: didn't want to do that. >> i'm not the kind of person who likes to be in a bureau. >> rose: explain that, what is it about you that doesn't want to be in a bureau. >> i don't like being told what to do. i think that-- i don't fit in those kinds of things. i like to do my own thing. it's a kind of freedom and i cherish that. >> rose: and we all know that some days you have to work really hard. when the berlin wall fell i know i was on my feet for 42 hours. >> rose: 423 hours. >> after that i'm not sure what happened because i woke up in the backseat of a car. but yeah. >> rose: sober or not sober. >> no, no, i literally collapsed, yeah. but so what. it was the fall of the berlin wall. are you never going see it again. and some days you go places and will stay in a five star hotel and nothing will happen and whoa, they pay me to be here, you know, it's a great life. >> rose: let me talk about
stories you have covered. remind me of the stories that were so meaningful to you. what are the stories that have, in a sense, if you were going to sit here this evening and say to me i want to show you what si have done, it may not be my best work, but it was the most interesting time whether it's south africa, whether it's the berlin wall, whether it's the conflict in the middle east. >> i think there are quite a few of them, certainly the south african elections and then inaugust rate of mandela were phenomenally moving. because we had seen and covered all the violence, we had seen people killed in front of our eyes and beaten to death and been under threat ourselves. and then to see the turn and the transition and see this something newborn, i think that was quite wonderful. >> rose: the great story, i mean colin powell told me this story. he went over as a representative of the president or somebody, to the inauguration, you know.
and i said because he was sitting among those-- famous people of the government. and he ponted to the people in the front row and said who are they? who are those people. and southan can counterparts said those are mandela's jailers. he wanted them in the front row of the inauguration. >> that was-- he was the post phenomenal man, meeting him was one of the high points of my life. >> rose: okay so, what else. there is south africa. >> the before lynn wall was the moment in history. i think the story that i always tell people, they say what is the story you are most fond of that you remember best was a little girl in croatia was a refugee from preador. her father was locked up in one of those prison camps, she and her mother, little sister and granny were with a bunch of, a group of other people refugees stuck in a deserted school. they weren't being allowed to move. and we went to do a story
just on these refugees. and somebody said look up this little kid, she is cool. she speaks english. little 11-year-old munchkin sherx was cute and spoke good english which is always useful to us. we talked to her and she was private. we went away looking for something else and i couldn't get her out of my mind. and the camera crew at one point t was david green, and he said pizz, you know, that kid, you know what, you're right, we turned and went back and we said right, tell us your story. and she could tell us what happened from the moment, she said i lived in preador and the serbs came and chased us out. we were on the bus, they took people off and killed them. on and on. she told her whole story. so we just recorded the whole thing. along, long interview with her. and then we said okay. now we're going to go find-- we called cbs. please let us do this. we were supposed to be going into syria. we said can we delay syria for a few days because we were working the split. we drove all around, we went
back in and we found the prison camp, and we had a serb girl as a translator and she convinced the prison guys to let us go and see this man. now we-- he didn't know who we were, what we were. the last picture we took, was show us a picture of her baddee-- daddy. she held up a picture like this and david framed, the father so, they said okay it's the guy in the blue shirt, david framed him through a square of bashed wire exactly so we could-- it was beautiful. anyway we went in and they let us interview him. hi brought letters from the family. and the little girl had wrapped a bar of chocolate up, red cross chocolate and she said please give this to my daddy. tell it comes from my hand to his hand. so we were wicked. i mean we set this up so the light was right and there's 1500 men in a cattle ship and this guy has not seen his family. so we're telling him for the
first time, your family is alive. they're safe and he's quite emotional. and i gave it to him. i said you know,eas mina said to say from your hand to my hand and he opened up this letter, i have absolutely no idea what the letter said. but we had said to her, if you could see your daddy now, what would you say. and she said it as he opened the letter, her voice came up saying, i love you, come back to me. >> oh god. >> and anyway, so we did all this. we got the story. we put it on the air and we started getting phone calls, as you do for stories that move people. and one of the guys in said look, i've got a lot of calls but there is this guy. you have to talk to this guy, david sager, something about this guy. so i call him. he said this is who i am. i want to get these people out. i said well, you know, that's a nice thought. it's extremely difficult. you have to have visas, you have to get the father out, it was a long complicate product ses. he said you tell me what i need to do.
so i told him what i knew. thought no more about it. couple of months later, i'm at home and my wife opened-- yells there is some man on the phone t sounds like that little girl you told me about. so i run in, allen, allen, it'seas mina i'm with my daddy, we going to america. i said what, she's in the transit camp, and she's now in croatia this guy david sayinger was like a terrier with a rat. he just drove everybody nuts including his congressman. they went out with visas. they got to somewhere in connecticut. they had an apartment furnished. they had jobs for them, language lesson, school for the kids. he did it. and she's now happily married lady with a little house. >> rose: living in america. >> living in connecticut, yeah. and it was-- we didn't do it i mean i don't feel that i did anything other than just to see and tell her story. and then it moved someone, someone who was just so moved that he did something that i didn't think he could do.
we had another lovely moment though and when i knew they were going i happened to be doing a story. and we were passing by the refugee camp. and the camera paul douglas who was sadly killed, in iraq a couple of years ago. paul said hey, that kid, it is down this road. i know where it. let's go see. so we drove down and i walked in. and the red cross t was the transity camp where you went from there to where we were going. so i walked in, it was red cross i introduced myself. and i said do you knoweas mina. >> she said everybody knows her. >> i am a friend of hers. >> come with me we walked in, crappy, ratty place, and grubby and she can't-- she's coming out of the cafeteria with her tray, it has a cup of tea and some bread on it she's like this. and she can't see me. and this guy says he knows you. hey-- she put the tray down, she is a refugee, she doesn't waste food and she jumped.
i have been hugged by girls but never have i had a hug like that. she grabbed me, she runs up the stairs yelling, in serbo croat and allen pizzey, allen pizzey. i walk in the room and there's her mum, an her sister and grahnee, the mum sister and dad who is this big guy, and he looked at me and he said allen pizzey. i said hi. >> and we all this big huling and we're all crying and the cameraman said why didn't you tell me, that was a great shot. i didn't think about it, you know, but that, it worked and it was just, i just feel this great sense of satisfaction that we, it wasn't me t was me and dave green and andy thompson and doug and josh mason, the camera crew, editor producer, we all saw this kid meant something. so she was every man. i think the line we use to start was we got in the way of someone else's war, all across former yugoslavia, tens of thousands of people, sess, croats, muslims are
refugees in their own land. this is the story of one little girl and her missing father. i remember what i wrote it meant that much. and it was, you know so, of all the stories i've ever done and there have been thousands, that is the one i remember the bestment i can almost remember the whole script just because of, because of what happened, i guess, because we did something. it was neat. >> rose: it is always the people you remember, isn't it. >> yeah, the event, the guns, razzle-dazzle-- . >> rose: you remember is somebody climbing off the wall, you remember somebody that has the gift of life, not like her, no matter what they have been through, there is some spark inside of them that they can't extinguish. >> i once had a man, his entire family, they were trapped at the macedonian border, sitting in a field of mud. we managed to sneak past the guards. this man was sitting in mud with his family, his children, his wife and
everything they owned in the world was in a couple of bundles, ratty. and he offered me a piece of bread. because that's hospitality, that's what you do. i once had a palestinian man apologize to me in west beirut because he couldn't give me coffee in his house. the reason he couldn't give me coffee is because he didn't have a house left. the kitchen was there but it was a pile of rubble and he was genuinely sorry that he couldn't offer me the hospitality that was due a visitor. >> rose: when were you most at risk? >> probably when i didn't know it. >> rose: exactly. >> lots of times, lots of times. >> rose: check points. >> check points are very scary, particularly when they are manned by youngsters. your life means nothing to them. if they kill its's inconvenient because they have to dispose of your bode or-- body and at least get them away so you don't mean anything. you are in the power of people who don't care.
they honestly-- . >> rose: their context is not my context. >> and you know that you can't reason with them. you can just hope that somehow, somewhere you find some way to get out of it. there have been a few of those. things drop on your head, bullet goes by, things like that, yeah. >> rose: thank you. >> pleasure, nice to talk to you face-to-face. >> rose: pizzey, called pizz by his friends, represents something special about journalism, somebody who is there on the front lines. thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org